British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue

News

2005-10-20 11:39:41

East meets West: two pups in one day

At midday, the National Seal Sanctuary in Cornwall had a call from a member of the public regarding a grey seal pup caught in fishing net at Cape Cornwall, near Land’s End. The Sanctuary staff called West Cornwall Coordinator Dave Jarvis and asked him to attend. Dave called fellow Coordinator Tim Bain and picked him up en route with the seal cage.

After searching the beach, a very rocky one that made it difficult to spot the pup, it was found after contacting the original caller. The pup was sitting on top of a pile of seaweed on the strandline in the entrance to a cave. It was entangled around the head and neck by monofilament netting. Tim jumped the pup and found it to be underweight but had no injuries besides cuts to the mouth where it had tried to chew unsuccessfully through the mesh to escape. The cage was put into position and Tim went to lift the pup… but nothing happened! The remainder of a large net was deeply entangled in the seaweed beneath the pup, consequently holding it to the ground. After a bit of digging and cutting, the pup was free and safely caged and on it’s way to the Sanctuary.

During the journey, a call came through about another seal, this time near Bude in the far North East corner of the County. Medic Sue Gear was sent out to assess the pup while Dave and Tim delivered one pup and took the cage on to the new one. Sue called back a short while later, having assessed the pup to be in need of rescue.

As the tide was now coming in quickly, Sue jumped the pup and put it in a basket, which could then be used to carry it to the top of the beach and a safe place. On arrival, Dave and Tim found the pup lying on its back in the basket half-hidden beneath a towel doing it very best to look cute while Sue and a small crowd of onlookers watched over it. The pup was tube fed before being transferred to the cage, and its injuries consisted of punctures and lacerations to the chest and neck. The pup was taken straight to the Sanctuary where Animal Care Assistant Marianne Fellows discovered it’s temperature was very high at 40.1 degrees. She then administered a series of antibiotic injections after consulting with expert marine mammal veterinarian Paul Riley. It has now been named ‘Murphy’, and joins the newly named ‘Thatcher’ (named not after the former Prime Minister, but the cider!) from Cape Cornwall in the Isolation Unit.

We would like to thank Anita Wheatley for her assistance with the Cape Cornwall pup, and Medic Sue Gear for her efforts in the rescue at Bude.

Medic Dan Jarvis
BDMLR West Cornwall
(Newquay - Land's End - St Austell)